The testate amoebae of New Zealand: A checklist, identification key and assessment of biogeographic patterns

Michelle M McKeown, Edward A D Mitchell, Matthew J Amesbury, Quentin Blandenier, Dan Charman, Clément Duckert, Thomas P Roland, Graeme T Swindles, Jamie R Wood, Janet M Wilmshurst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


New Zealand (NZ) is a well-known hotspot of biodiversity and endemism for macroscopic organisms, but its microbial diversity is comparatively poorly documented. We assembled all records on NZ testate amoebae published since the early 20th century and present a comprehensive taxonomic checklist for NZ. Testate amoebae are reported from six major habitat types across both the North and South Islands of NZ, but the sampling effort is ecologically and geographically biased in favour of wetlands and the South Island. As a result, 93% of all 128 morphotypes recorded in NZ occur in wetlands, 28% are restricted to the South Island, and diversity is greater at higher latitudes. Around 50% of morphotypes have a broad latitudinal distribution across the NZ mainland, whereas 15% have narrow latitudinal ranges. Future research should aim to broaden the geographical and ecological ranges. We predict that our list of NZ testate amoebae will expand substantially with future work, and that the latitudinal diversity gradient will be inverted. We also introduce an interactive, fully illustrated, online Lucid key for the rapid identification of NZ testate amoebae. As many morphospecies are cosmopolitan, this key provides a useful tool for testate amoebae identification in other parts of the world.
Original languageEnglish
Article number125789
JournalEuropean Journal of Protistology
Early online date30 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Biogeography
  • New Zealand
  • Identification key
  • Checklist
  • Testate amoebae


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